South-facing windows are usually the brightest in a home, providing direct sunlight most of the day.
Sun-loving houseplants can thrive here if you take the correct steps to protect them from the intense direct sunlight.
While some plants require high amounts of direct sunlight, which a south-facing window can provide, the glass can sometimes intensify the extreme direct light and heat.
This article explains what plants you should choose for your south-facing window and how to protect them so they can thrive under the abundance of energy in the sun.
Learn About Your Space
Observe the room’s temperature and sunlight for a few days before moving any plants into the space.
The conditions around a room might seem consistent, but they actually vary greatly depending on the specific location.
Microclimates play an extremely important role in the placement of houseplants.
As the sun crosses the sky during the day, it is a good idea to take photos of the way direct sunlight moves around the room. You can then use these photos to decide later on what kind of light to use. If the plant will be close to a window with intense sunlight, humidity may have to be supplemented for some plants. Make sure you pay extra attention to the area nearest the south-facing window throughout the day.
Look at how much warmer this area is than the rest of the room. You’ll need to know which plants will do well in the environment closest to the south-facing window.
Keep Your Houseplants From Extreme Sun Exposure
Plants can’t thrive when they are trying to survive in extreme conditions. This is why desert cacti grow slowly, for example.
The energy that could be used for rapid growth is instead used for survival.
You must protect your sun-loving houseplants if you want them to make the most of abundant sunlight that comes through a south-facing window. In the summer months, this is especially true.
If you have a south-facing window, there are several steps you can take to protect your houseplants:
- Filter the sunlight to prevent the leaves from burning or scorching in direct sunlight. Your plants will still receive energy from the sun through sheer curtains, but the light will be filtered and less intense. Furthermore, this will provide some relief from the intense heat associated with direct sunlight.
- Provide shade with darker curtains or blinds. To provide shade during the intense heat of mid-day, you can draw the curtains or adjust the blinds. Open them again once the heat of the day has passed, when the sun is not so intense.
- Double-potting will protect the roots from extreme temperatures. Surfaces near a south-facing window are likely to become very hot to the touch throughout the day. As a result, the container in which your plant is potted could become dangerously hot for the roots. The pot can be protected from this by placing it inside another decorative container.
- To avoid accidentally boiling the roots, only water in the morning or evening. You should water your houseplants early in the morning, so they have time to absorb the water and use it throughout the day. Any standing water in the container will become very hot during the day, making it dangerous to water mid-day.
A Plant Selection Guide For South-Facing Windows
Plants should always be placed in your home according to their natural origins. For this, it is crucial to understand how plants work in the first place.
Photosynthesis takes place in the leaves of a plant. As a result, tiny pores on the leaf’s surface open up to absorb carbon dioxide.
The sun’s energy is utilized to convert carbon dioxide into sugar, which is needed for plant growth. The opening of these tiny pores, however, allows some water to escape through evaporation. The result of too much water escaping is burned leaves and dead pants.
Since thousands of years ago, plants around the world have evolved to survive in unique environments before becoming popular houseplants. They must live in an environment that mimics their natural habitat in order to thrive. A few plants have adapted to live on the forest floor, which would naturally be a low-light environment.
The place where these plants grow is typically shady, so they tend to have large, soft leaves that capture as much sun as possible despite the lack of water.
One of these plants placed in a south-facing window would allow too much water to escape, dry out, and die.
It is for this reason that cacti and succulents are such great choices for a south-facing window. Natural adaptations allow them to survive in the extremely sunny, hot environment of deserts.
This is achieved by prioritizing water retention over rapid growth and by keeping those tiny pores closed as much as possible.
6 Best Indoor Plants For Sunny South-Facing Windows
In view of the fact that plants require a great deal of energy to produce flowers or fruit, many houseplants can tolerate direct sunlight and are happy to be placed in your sunny south facing window.
Therefore, here is a list of common high-light houseplants that will thrive in your south-facing window:
Hibiscus (Hibiscus Rosa-Sinensis)
Hibiscus plants have the brightest, boldest, and most beautiful flowers of any houseplant. Since these are tropical plants capable of spectacular displays all year round, they need as much sunlight as possible.
If you want your Hibiscus plant to produce the most flowers, feed it a potassium-rich fertilizer regularly. Allow the soil to dry before watering again to avoid soggy soil. Water deeply and often.
You will need to prune regularly in order to keep the plant bushy and compact with plenty of branches. There will be more surface area for flowers to grow on.
Snake Plant (Sansevieria Trifasciata)
Snake plants are commonly listed on low-light plant lists, but they can also grow in direct sunlight. Because of their hardy adaptability and tolerance for neglect, these plants are commonly referred to as “impossible to kill”.
Snake plants do not tolerate over-watering, even though they need more water when grown in direct sunlight. Provide good drainage and let the soil dry before watering again.
Occasionally, Snake plants will produce some adorable and fragrant little white flowers if they receive enough sunlight. Since this doesn’t happen very often, take advantage of the opportunity.
Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis)
Direct sunlight is best for Aloe vera plants, but they can also survive with filtered light. As a succulent, they are extremely adept at retaining water and prefer drier environments. Among the main reasons an Aloe plant might die is overwatering.
A potted Aloe plant should be potted in a terracotta pot with cactus or succulent soil mix.
In this way, the soil will not retain too much water and be able to breathe through the porous pot.
Whenever your Aloe vera plant is satisfied with its environment, it will give you baby aloe pups. It is easy to propagate these pups by repotting them into their own containers.
Croton (Codiaeum Variegatum)
As eye-catching as a colorful floral display would be, Croton plants have beautiful foliage. To thrive, these plants need high temperatures and direct sunlight, so they are ideal for a south-facing window.
Croton will not tolerate over-watering, so water only after the soil has completely dried. Their preferred environment, however, is high humidity.
It is easy to add humidity with a spray bottle or by placing a glass of water near the plant in a sunny window that will slowly evaporate.
Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea Recurvata)
The Ponytail palm’s big truck and wild, skinny leaves make it a great addition to your bright space. It prefers similar conditions to those of a succulent and is easy to care for.
You should pot your Ponytail palm in a course soil mix like cactus or succulent soil. After the soil has dried, water sparingly.
Like a succulent, this plant will also grow slowly, so it will only need to be repotted every few years.
The beautiful and fragrant white flowers of the Jasmine thrive in warm and sunny places. They prefer filtered sunlight, since direct sunlight can damage their delicate flowers.
Jasmine needs lots of water to maintain its adorable blossoms. It prefers constantly moist soil, so make sure it does not dry out. Additionally, misting regularly will benefit them by increasing humidity.